D.C. Madam Seeking Subpoenas for ABC News’ Brian Ross and Others

By Justin Rood And Maddy Sauer

Sep 12, 2007 2:07pm

The D.C. Madam wants a date with ABC News reporter Brian Ross — in court. Facing racketeering charges related to allegations of running a prostitution ring, a lawyer for Deborah Jeane Palfrey has asked a federal judge to issue a subpoena to compel Ross and other prominent figures to testify at her trial. Earlier this year, Ross and his investigative team were the first to review a portion of phone records from Palfrey’s "sexual fantasy service," Pamela Martin and Associates. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Photos D.C. Madam Affair Unfolds in Pictures 20/20 Video Inside the D.C. Madam’s Escort Service Full Blotter Coverage D.C. Madam Affair Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Slideshows In a new filing, Palfrey’s lawyer Montgomery Blair Sibley also requested subpoenas for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Cindy Adams, the renowned New York Post gossip columnist. In an e-mail to reporters Wednesday, Sibley explained he believes Palfrey is the victim of a politically motivated prosecution. He would like Ross to testify, he wrote, because "the very real specter exists that political pressure was placed on ABC News to ‘bury’" names of prominent individuals it found among her phone records. ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross dismissed the allegations. "Our decisions regarding what we reported were based solely on what we considered to be newsworthy," said Ross. Leahy should testify, Sibley said, so he can explain his statements that the Justice Department under President Bush has "allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence." Leahy is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department. "As chairman, he gets some awfully wacky requests, but this one might make it into the top ten," said a spokesperson for the senator late Wednesday. Earlier this year, ABC News received a portion of Palfrey’s phone records showing more than 30,000 calls made from her business phone number from 2002 through 2006. Ross aired his report on Palfrey in May, identifying former U.S. Agency for International Development chief Randall Tobias as a client of Palfrey’s firm. Tobias resigned prior to the story’s airing. Since then, Palfrey has made available to the public phone records covering what she says is her entire period of operation, from 1993 to late 2006. To date, a number belonging to one more prominent American, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has been identified among her records. In response, Vitter issued a public apology for having "sinned." A spokesperson for Cindy Adams did not immediately return calls requesting a comment. This post has been updated. Click Here to Register to Receive Blotter Alerts.

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